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Default RPG Codex - 2012: The Year in Review

August 5th, 2013, 17:54
RPG Codex has a new opinion article discussing and reviewing the games in 2012.

We have a long-running meme known as "decline" here on the Codex. It's the idea that computer games have been declining in quality since about the late 90's (or earlier, depending on your choice as to the start of the decline). FPSs for example, have gone from the fast-paced, monster-filled and difficult games of Doom - to slower paced games, all played at lamentable running speeds, filled with the same iron sight weapons and BLOOM filled graphics - full of endless cut-scenes, where health has gone from a precious commodity you'd hunt for on every level, to not even being required. Just sit and wait around a bit and your health magically "re-generates" these days.

Monster-filled maze-like levels have been replaced with one single monster (usually spawned behind you to create some sort of "surprise" - or in-front of you right after a cut-scene - but over-used so often as to be predictable) in a single room that presents barely enough of a challenge to warrant even a mild air of concern. Games have been dumbed down, stream-lined, and made easy for today's "modern gamer". Who it seems, can barely handle anything more complicated than basic addition.
More information.
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August 5th, 2013, 17:54
I've been back to replay a lot of those old games that people rave about, and guess what? They are often boring, tedious, and shallow. Many modern games are a vast improvement. Now if they are just comparing the very best of the old games to recent releases, then they need to compare those old games to the very best of the modern games.

Just sit and wait around a bit and your health magically "re-generates" these days.
I think this is usually done to avoid tedious map traversals in order to restore health. What would you rather do: spend 20 minutes moving back and forth to a hospice in order to receive healing from a cleric/healer, or spend a few seconds waiting while your health recovers? I guess they could throw up a graphic saying you tromped back to get your health fixed, then returned.
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August 5th, 2013, 20:42
A 2012 review in August 2013? More than anything else this proves that
Dark Underlord is a lazy fella…


For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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August 5th, 2013, 20:46
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
A 2012 review in August 2013? More than anything else this proves that
Dark Underlord is a lazy fella…

Dude! You are saying true, I am agree with your comment

Click Here
Last edited by danny_harris; October 30th, 2013 at 07:34.
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August 5th, 2013, 22:00
And all the tacky annoying ads, yuck…
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August 6th, 2013, 05:35
The ads are obnoxious but not nearly as obnoxious as a BioWare-gay-elf-sex thread on the Codex. Anyone who thinks ours here on the front page is bad should check out one of the Codex's old ones.
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August 6th, 2013, 18:48
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
I've been back to replay a lot of those old games that people rave about, and guess what? They are often boring, tedious, and shallow. Many modern games are a vast improvement…to people who don't really like RPGs and only play them for the story.
And there's the issue. If you only came into games as light passive entertainment of course you don't like "wasting" time on gameplay. That's why publishers cater to you, the least common denominator, to make more money. Part of the reason anyway, turns out making games that have real gameplay is all hard and stuff.
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August 6th, 2013, 19:18
Target group (a) Hardcore gamer:

Hardcore gamers like challenging games with C&C and high replay value and "in game realism" without too much handholding. Fiddling around with character development, turn based combat, eating and sleeping is fun.


Target group (b) Casual gamer:

Casual gamers like easy quick consumeable games, more linear, replay value is less important, handholding is more important than "in game realism".
Fiddling around with character development, turn based combat, eating and sleeping is boring and distracts from the game.

These two target groups will never sit in the same boat
I want more games for target group (a)

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; August 6th, 2013 at 21:03.
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August 6th, 2013, 19:49
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
I've been back to replay a lot of those old games that people rave about, and guess what? They are often boring, tedious, and shallow. Many modern games are a vast improvement. Now if they are just comparing the very best of the old games to recent releases, then they need to compare those old games to the very best of the modern games.



I think this is usually done to avoid tedious map traversals in order to restore health. What would you rather do: spend 20 minutes moving back and forth to a hospice in order to receive healing from a cleric/healer, or spend a few seconds waiting while your health recovers? I guess they could throw up a graphic saying you tromped back to get your health fixed, then returned.
Not only do I prefer the challenge of knowing I'll have to lug back to town to get my Cleric rezzed at the risk of getting killed by a kobold I can't stand the idea of levelling up in a dungeon. You should need to see a trainer.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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August 6th, 2013, 21:11
Doom as a the apex for the FPS genre, the genre going on decline after that game…

FPS is one of those genres where players got their priorities right. Contrary to RPGs.

The slowing down of action was demanded by the progression of the genre as FPS was able to produce tactical gaming.
Issuance of orders, coordination of movements, reaction to the tactics of the enemy among others all demand a slower pace of action to be accessible. It changed the rythm of action as it went towards quieter periods (preparation of the tactics, manoeuvering) to intense periods, quick bursts of action when players were taking the fight.
SWAT and Counter Strike should be considered decline over Doom?

The hardness in gaming always puzzles me. A game can be made artificially hard, in a punishing way. Very often, developpers when looking for hardness are compelled to take that route because they do not know how to make a game hard properly (they lack the level of AI for example) so they add painful cheats to the other side so that the game appears hard. It turns gaming in a frustrating experience. What's the use? Players looking for achievements in a virtual world, taking pride in beating a hard game?

The bit of health regeneration did not mention the mess FPS games had turned into at some stage.Health packs were introduced and later abused.
They either appear as items with a timer, regenerating after a while. In other words, it was similar to regenerating health. Or health packs were hidden in caches you had to discover. As the trick was abused, it turned away from the main focus of a shooter: shooting. The player knew health packs were around and discovering them and the cache was a primary goal when going through a level.

These days, regenerating health in FPS is imposed by two demands that come from online gaming: human tactical squads are very demanding to establish, they require a lot of dedication from players. Most players simply do not have the time to spend 3 or 4 hours per day learning how to manoeuver. Regenerationg health makes up for that issue. The second demand is from professional gaming. Professional gamers have time to establish their squad tactics but it appeared that permanent health was too restrictive and actually diminished the level of skill required.

In permanent health settings, a stray bullet can turn in a headshot with damaging consequences. It is pointless to flee since health wont generate. It turns to manage respawn. Players on low HP time their respawn to regroup properly with their team mate. Health management is reduced to a minimum and is tightly coupled to respawning management.
It takes more skill to kill a player on regenerating health as fleeing is a lasting strategy, you can live to fight fully another day. So squad tactics must be brutal enough to deliver enough firepower to deal terminally with characters. And they must include pursue tactics, as letting an enemy flee means he can return on full heath. As pursuing is involved, it also makes room for counter tactics like ambush, you know that they are after one of the squad so you can regroup and flank them, ambush them as you know where they are heading.
As characters have more lasting power, they also support better attachment to a skill tree. Regenerating health has introduced more health management in professional gaming, in addition to respawning management. With regenerating health, players can envision strategies and tactics based on avoiding respawing etc Nothing like dumbing down by the way. On the opposite, it added to the gameplay.

Last thing: hardness. Is it hard to take on a professional gamer?
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August 6th, 2013, 21:12
Chien scares me…..
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August 6th, 2013, 21:15
Surely it's not because he also writes walls of tedious text?
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August 6th, 2013, 21:19
If Quake was done today…

Modern Military Shooters in a nutshell

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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August 6th, 2013, 23:21
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Doom as a the apex for the FPS genre, the genre going on decline after that game…

FPS is one of those genres where players got their priorities right. Contrary to RPGs.

The slowing down of action was demanded by the progression of the genre as FPS was able to produce tactical gaming.
Issuance of orders, coordination of movements, reaction to the tactics of the enemy among others all demand a slower pace of action to be accessible. It changed the rythm of action as it went towards quieter periods (preparation of the tactics, manoeuvering) to intense periods, quick bursts of action when players were taking the fight.
SWAT and Counter Strike should be considered decline over Doom?

The hardness in gaming always puzzles me. A game can be made artificially hard, in a punishing way. Very often, developpers when looking for hardness are compelled to take that route because they do not know how to make a game hard properly (they lack the level of AI for example) so they add painful cheats to the other side so that the game appears hard. It turns gaming in a frustrating experience. What's the use? Players looking for achievements in a virtual world, taking pride in beating a hard game?

The bit of health regeneration did not mention the mess FPS games had turned into at some stage.Health packs were introduced and later abused.
They either appear as items with a timer, regenerating after a while. In other words, it was similar to regenerating health. Or health packs were hidden in caches you had to discover. As the trick was abused, it turned away from the main focus of a shooter: shooting. The player knew health packs were around and discovering them and the cache was a primary goal when going through a level.

These days, regenerating health in FPS is imposed by two demands that come from online gaming: human tactical squads are very demanding to establish, they require a lot of dedication from players. Most players simply do not have the time to spend 3 or 4 hours per day learning how to manoeuver. Regenerationg health makes up for that issue. The second demand is from professional gaming. Professional gamers have time to establish their squad tactics but it appeared that permanent health was too restrictive and actually diminished the level of skill required.

In permanent health settings, a stray bullet can turn in a headshot with damaging consequences. It is pointless to flee since health wont generate. It turns to manage respawn. Players on low HP time their respawn to regroup properly with their team mate. Health management is reduced to a minimum and is tightly coupled to respawning management.
It takes more skill to kill a player on regenerating health as fleeing is a lasting strategy, you can live to fight fully another day. So squad tactics must be brutal enough to deliver enough firepower to deal terminally with characters. And they must include pursue tactics, as letting an enemy flee means he can return on full heath. As pursuing is involved, it also makes room for counter tactics like ambush, you know that they are after one of the squad so you can regroup and flank them, ambush them as you know where they are heading.
As characters have more lasting power, they also support better attachment to a skill tree. Regenerating health has introduced more health management in professional gaming, in addition to respawning management. With regenerating health, players can envision strategies and tactics based on avoiding respawing etc Nothing like dumbing down by the way. On the opposite, it added to the gameplay.

Last thing: hardness. Is it hard to take on a professional gamer?
People can't stomach difficulty without depth, it's arbitrary punishment. When people talk about one they are usually complaining about the other lacking.
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August 7th, 2013, 09:39
That is not the case for the author of the OP.

Regenerating health added depth to the gameplay. Permanent health actually reduces the depth of health management compared to cases with regenerating health.

Online gaming in Doom was more oriented toward head to head gaming and did not display the depth of squad tactics that following games would display.

FPS gameplay grew deeper after Doom. The lack of difficulty (as perceived by the author) cant come from the lack of depth.

Speaking of decline in the FPS genre going from Doom is nonsense. The author is probably a socalled RPGer who cant take it that, in some other genres, players who play games for the gameplay first (gamers) still influence the outcome and that they had their priorities right. They guaranteed that shooters' main focus remained the shooting act.
For so called RPGers, it's been a while that roleplaying games must be about everything but roleplaying. RPGs must be about combat, immersion, story, romances etc but not about roleplaying.

Tough news, that deviancy has not yet reached the FPS genre. FPS 's main focus remains the shooting act. Doom is a milestone in the history of FPS but not one signaling a decline.

FPS as a genre keeps progressing.
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August 7th, 2013, 09:43
The genre as a whole has progressed, but the majority of first-person shooters today don't have half the depth of the ones made in the late 90s-early 2000s.
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August 7th, 2013, 09:45
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
That is not the case for the author of the OP.

Regenerating health added depth to the gameplay. Permanent health actually reduces the depth of health management compared to cases with regenerating health.

Online gaming in Doom was more oriented toward head to head gaming and did not display the depth of squad tactics that following games would display.

FPS gameplay grew deeper after Doom. The lack of difficulty (as perceived by the author) cant come from the lack of depth.

Speaking of decline in the FPS genre going from Doom is nonsense. The author is probably a socalled RPGer who cant take it that, in some other genres, players who play games for the gameplay first (gamers) still influence the outcome and that they had their priorities right. They guaranteed that shooters' main focus remained the shooting act.
For so called RPGers, it's been a while that roleplaying games must be about everything but roleplaying. RPGs must be about combat, immersion, story, romances etc but not about roleplaying.

Tough news, that deviancy has not yet reached the FPS genre. FPS 's main focus remains the shooting act. Doom is a milestone in the history of FPS but not one signaling a decline.

FPS as a genre keeps progressing.
Regenerating health adding depth? It's there because consoles are too wimpy to do collisions so they use hitscan. When you cannot escape arbitrary damage through skill, you have to have regen.

You have to have slower gameplay when using a console controller that gives you the dexterity of a walrus, too. Not to mention when you are playing a game with nonexistent gameplay ie every console shooter ever made which relies on cutscenes and eye candy, you have to do everything possible to slow down the delivery or go into a billion dollar budget.

Has to be like the worst post ever, I am shocked someone can think shooters have gotten better in any way, shape, or form. And I can own anybody online at these lame shooters after 5 seconds even though I only play them if the kiddies suck me into it. Sad.
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August 7th, 2013, 16:11
Originally Posted by ManWhoJaped View Post
Has to be like the worst post ever, I am shocked someone can think shooters have gotten better in any way, shape, or form. And I can own anybody online at these lame shooters after 5 seconds even though I only play them if the kiddies suck me into it. Sad.
I agree, auto-aiming and auto-lock for console players are another nail in the coffin for online MP shooters.
At least if there are mixing PC players and Console players in online games.

I owned them in Farcry 3 nevertheless, aiming is not everything
Played up to world rank #60 until I got bored. Farcry 2 online was much better.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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August 7th, 2013, 16:49
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
I've been back to replay a lot of those old games that people rave about, and guess what? They are often boring, tedious, and shallow. Many modern games are a vast improvement. Now if they are just comparing the very best of the old games to recent releases, then they need to compare those old games to the very best of the modern games.
I don't think a generalisation like this should go unchallenged really - so I'd like to hear actual specific games thanks before I even start to take such a claim seriously.
Bear in mind that such presumptions are often made through the lense of modernity and so one is almost "spoilt" in these gluttonous days of dual wielding video cards and graphics dominating over gameplay. Thus, there is a natural difference in value judgement from which era one dips their feet in first.
Heaven forbid us having to use a bit of imagination to fill in the gaps.

Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
I think this is usually done to avoid tedious map traversals in order to restore health. What would you rather do: spend 20 minutes moving back and forth to a hospice in order to receive healing from a cleric/healer, or spend a few seconds waiting while your health recovers? I guess they could throw up a graphic saying you tromped back to get your health fixed, then returned.
The former. I'd prefer to survive via a more realistic game mechanic than have silly regenerating health thank you very much! Besides, I even have great memories finding the less risky resting points in games. For example - the sections of the dungeons in Curse of the Azure Bonds wherever you "search area" (found on the map after disposing of the Fire Knives).

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
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